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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 14


Coral pink coneflower blossom
Transplant coneflowers now for blooms all summer. Pollinators love them, too. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Make most of mild weather; heat coming again soon




Enjoy this brief cool down; more heat is on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento temperatures will swing wildly again this week with at least a 20-degree difference between this weekend and midweek. After a breezy day in the mid-70s on Saturday, Sunday will be just about "normal" for June with a high forecast of 88 degrees. Sacramento's average June high is 87.

Monday and Tuesday will hover around 90 degrees before the breeze disappears and the furnace switches back on. Forecast for the rest of the week is "sunny and hot," with highs of 97 degrees or above.

So, if you have something that needs attention in your garden, do it now before the heat creeps back up.

Here are some suggestions:
* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.
* Weed, weed, weed! Bindweed, nutsedge and other unwanted invaders love the heat and are growing rapidly now. Pull them before they go to seed.
* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.
* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.
* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.
* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.
* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.
* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.
Zinnia transplant
June is the perfect time to plant zinnias.
*Deep-water tomatoes, peppers and squash, then feed with a balanced fertilizer. Bone meal or rock phosphate can spur the bloom cycle and help set fruit.
* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.
* From seed, plant basil, beans, corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.
June is the perfect time to plant zinnias.
* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.
* Transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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